By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Bottle gourd – Louki is a familiar vegetable, used by in many countries including India. Its reference and utility is found from the Samhita period itself (1-3 Century BC).This is named as Alabu in Ayurveda.
The name bottle gourd is given probably due to its shape of a bottle. But today we get varieties of bottle gourds too (different size and shaped bottle is also available!).
Bottle gourd – Calabash qualities:
Madhura rasa (sweet taste)
Laghu- snigdha- sheeta- manda- mridu (light, unctous, cold, thich and soft)
Madhura vipaka (sweet biological transformation)
Sheeta veerya (cold potency)
It is appreciated as Vatapittahara; excess intake of this may provoke Kapha.
Read related: Bottle Gourd Uses, Home Remedies, Side Effects, Research
Srotoshodhaka (clears the body channels)
Yakrit uttejaka (hepatic tissue regenerator),
Malavardhaka (bowel quantity enhancer) etc.
So, this remains as a vegetable of choice in the conditions like-
Obstructive jaundice (ruddhapatha kamala),
Shirashoola (head ache),
Grahani (mal absorption) etc.
Several home remedies are also in practice derived out of Bottle gourd and few of them are explained here below-
Burning sensation of eyes, chest
1. Raw bottle gourd pieces in burning sensation of head, eyes and chest:
Bottle gourd is washed and its outer skin is peeled.
10-15 small pieces (5-10 gram sized) are made and this is consumed one after the other (which is tasty like any raw vegetable) without adding spices and salt.
This reduces all kind of burning complaints including burning of urine as well as during defecation. Person feels cooling effect for the next day itself.
2. Bottle gourd fresh juice in conjunctivitis:
2-3 ml of fresh juice is obtained out of sweet bottle gourd and used to instill to both the eyes. This relieves gritting and burning of the eyes caused during conjunctivitis.
Purulent discharge also controlled soon by this.
If the patient hesitates to instill to the eyes fine paste of this can be applied over the closed eyes. This also contributes significant, similar benefit.
Liver and gall bladder diseases
3. Bottle gourd soup in liver and gall bladder disaesses:
Bottle gourd pieces are made and cooked by adding small quantity of water. (preferably salt is not added; if any body feels difficulty to take without salt or least amount of salt or jaggery, as per ones requirement can be added).
If necessary little pepper can be added.
This soup is consumed or taken along with boiled rice or Chapati in cases like biliary colic, jaundice, bile stones, biliary head ache etc.
4. Bottle gourd kheer/ payasam in fatigue, lethargy etc:
Sliced or grated bottle gourd is cooked well and milk is added (coconut milk can also be added). Further by adding jaggery or sugar candy it is stirred well till complete dissolution. If necessary this is garnished with saffron or flavored with cardamom.
This relieves tiredness and is a good rejuvinator and sexual vigor enhancer (both in men and women).
Read related: Feeling tired all the time? 10 Reasons and solutions
Acid peptic disorders
5. Bottle gourd flower recipe in Acid peptic disorders:
Sweet bottle gourd gives white colored flowers.3-4 flowers are taken and fried a little, with ghee. This is churned well with buttermilk and 1-2 pinch of pepper. Further by adding little salt this is served along with food/rice.
Or else this can be used to drink also.
This acts as a regulator of the digestive fire. This helps to reduce tastelessness, head ache, nausea, acid peptic disorders, acidic regurgitation etc.
The flower can be used to make chutney also (wherte little grated coconut or coconut powder can be added while grinding).
6. Bottle gourd tender seed fry as taste enhancer:
Tender bottle gourd is taken and cut into pieces. The seeds (soft) are collected and fried with little ghee (or sesame oil). Little pepper or salt are also added.
This is taken out of the fire and taken while it is luke warm
This is very tasty and it enhances taste in the food stuffs. Children especially like this kind of healthy vegetable seed fry.
Note: Bottle gourd peel chutney is also having the same properties.
Bitter variety of bottle gourd also available and one should be careful while using such a variety as it is purgative and emetic as well.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD